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Sophie Ellis-Bextor Reveals She Was Raped at 17: 'He Had Sex with Me and I Felt So Ashamed'

·3-min read
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Sophie Ellis-Bextor

British musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor is speaking out about being raped at the age of 17.

"I heard myself saying 'No' and 'I don't want to,' but it didn't make any difference," the "Not Giving Up on Love" singer reveals in her upcoming memoir, Spinning Plates.

"He had sex with me, and I felt so ashamed," Sophie, now 42, adds about the "dark and murky events."

"It was how I lost my virginity and I felt stupid," she continues. "I felt grubby, but also unsure about my own feelings as I had no other experience to compare it with."

Ellis-Bextor's harrowing experience started out completely innocently. In her memoir, which is being serialized in the Mail on Sunday, she explains how she went to a gig as a student and later found herself chatting with a 29-year-old musician called Jim.

At the close of the show, Jim invited her back to his apartment to browse through some history books, only for things to rapidly take a turn.

"Before I knew it, we were on his bed and he took off my knickers," writes Sophie.

Despite being subjected to a serious sexual assault, however, the singer – who is now a mother to five sons – says the attack left her completely confused because it did not involve any other form of physical aggression, which she had been led to believe was a fundamental component of rape.

"No one had pinned me down or shouted at me to make me comply," she writes, adding that in the 1990s when the attack took place, rape was considered to be "associated with aggression" rather than today's more sophisticated view surrounding sexual consent.

"My experience was not violent," she adds. "All that happened was I wasn't listened to. Of the two people there, one said 'yes', the other said 'no', and the 'yes' person did it anyway."

This lack of non-sexual violence left Ellis-Bextor believing that she "didn't have a case" against her attacker. So instead of pursuing legal action, she summoned the courage to get on with life and not allow him to win.

Her memoir is an attempt to now take this one step further and use her personal experience to help other people understand just "where the line between right and wrong lies."

Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor/ instagram Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her family

"I have thought so much about why I wanted to write about this," writes Ellis-Bextor in her memoir. "My life is happy now and I would not say that I felt overly traumatized at the time, and yet I feel as if the culture that surrounded me—- the things I saw and read and the way sex was discussed — made me believe I didn't have a case."

Ellis-Bextor goes on to reveal that she is "not interested in naming and shaming the guy involved" but has made certain that the subject of consent has been introduced "pretty early" in the lives of the five sons she shares with musician husband Richard Jones.

"I want to raise considerate, kind people who can take other people's feelings into account," writes the singer. "I want them to actively want the other person to be happy, too, rather than just stopping because they have to."

She adds, "The older I've become, the more stark that 29-year-old man ignoring 17-year-old me has seemed."

Spinning Plates will be released Oct. 7.

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